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Grafted Scroll

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Many very old violins have grafted scrolls. The general design of the violin changed some time in the 1800's to improve the projection. The distance from the nut to the bridge increased along with the height of the bridge. To convert violins made to earlier dimensions, a graft was done. The scroll and heel were saved and a longer section was spliced in between these pieces. The scroll always stays with its original body. A nicely done graft will be missed by many if they don't know it its there. Grafts can be done for other reason too but the fact that a violin has a grafted scroll doesn't automatically make it a valuable or better violin. A graft takes time and skill which would not normally be done on a low quality violin.

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The graft does not make the violin better. But there is a lower value limit to a violin below which a graft would not normally be found because of the cost of the graft. Many violins have grafts just to make them look like valuable old instruments. Some violins likewise have fake grafts consisting of lines scribed where the graft joints would normally be found.

I suspect that if you compared the quality and value of all the grafted intruments in the world against all the ungrafted ones, the grafted ones would score higher on average. But there is so much variability that it is impossible to evaluate any given instrument solely on the presence or absence of a graft.

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A lot of mediocre fake antiques were made in the later 19th and early 20th Century, also. I have seen violins with real grafts and peghole bushings that were made so from the start, and you can also find them in old catalogs. Most of the ones I have seen weren't very good. A few were OK, haven't seen any great ones yet.

I've seen halfway decent 18th Century German and Tyrolean violins go for as low as $1500 at auction, even less if they had "problems".

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Guest jesfiddle

So, there are some that were made with grafts and bushings? I think that describes a violin that I have. First, I thought that it must have been a valuable instrument to warrant those repairs, but I have been told that the bushings, along with the rosin stain are features of imitation old in this case. I was also told that the neck graft is "real," but I am unsure if the violin was made that way, or if it was a necessary repair. I was wondering if the neck was joined to the scroll in a way that resembled an after market graft, because, though I can see the joint on the heel of the scroll, I cannot see the neck wood going up into the peg box...it appears there is no joint in that area. How are these "from the factory" grafts done?

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"I was also told that the neck graft is "real," but I am unsure if the violin was made that way, or if it was a necessary repair."

I don't think that it is possible to tell from looking at the graft if a real graft was done just to make the violin look old or if it was done as part of a legitimate repair. Of course, if it's a fake graft it was done just to make the violin look old. Another source of real grafts is students doing grafts for the learning experience on instruments that would not normally be worth grafting. I've done several for this reason.

"How are these "from the factory" grafts done?"

I think they are done the same as any other graft.

"I cannot see the neck wood going up into the peg box."

Check with a strong magnifying glass. If you can't see the joint, or if you see the lines of the wood grain running continuously across the graft, it is a fake graft.

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